OKAY BOOMER: Game 1 Recap

If you didn’t know it yet, you do now; this is not the NBA. This is international basketball where defense is king, full-court presses are the norm and ‘physicality’ is code for getting beat the hell up. It’s gritty, its messy, and its fantastic!

Australia opened their campaign with the hardest easy win you’ll see, pulling away through the second half for a 84–67 final score over an impressive Nigerian team. It wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win. Let’s take a quick look at a few quick take aways…

Patty Thrills Again
Mills, as we’ve come to expect at this point, lead the Boomers with 25pts including 5/8 from 3PT. He is the the Boomers’ leader, not just in the points column of the box score but as the heart and sole of the team. These Games promise to be a poignant moment in Mills’ basketball journey; a special time in a player’s career where he’s seasoned enough to be a highly respected voice in the locker room yet simultaneously young enough to grab a game by the throat and lead by example on the court.

Defense is Boring…but Crucial
In a theme that will be droned on repeat, defense was front and centre with a combined 45 Turnovers in the box score. However, a 26–17 discrepancy in points off TO’s was the difference for the Aussies. Kay and Thybulle were particularly special on this end of the floor, bringing discipline and energy off the bench, boasting +19 and +21 Box +/- respectively. On a downright ugly night of basketball that was far from the best this unit can play, their swarming defense rescued them regularly and serves as the blueprint of a winning formula moving forward.

Searching for a Lineup
It’s still early in the tournament and Coach Goorjian is clearly still tinkering. Most notable tonight was a Josh Green sighting, who impressed off the bench, injecting some much needed athleticism on both ends. Dante Exum is obviously on a mission to prove to the basketball world that he still has a legitimate NBA Career ahead of him, predominantly by careening to the basket relentlessly. The results were mixed and he spent as much time on the floor as he did on his feet but the energy is contagious and often helped kick-start a stagnant half-court offense. Look for him to continue to earn more rotation minutes. NBL Champion Chris Goulding was conspicuously missing from the rotation, logging just 6 minutes. However, this can only be a positive moving forward knowing that Goorjian has a ‘break glass in case of emergency’ type of player available at any moment in Goulding — an elite scorer and shot maker that could fire up the offense when called upon.

Australia take on Italy in Game 2 on Wednesday 28 July at 6:20pm AEST

Lukewarm & more-or-less completely unqualified NBA takes from the other side of the globe